Texas falls to A&M in back and forth regional semifinal

It was a pitchers duel in College Station as Texas baseball fell to the No. 3 overall seed in extras.
Lebarron Johnson Jr., Texas baseball
Lebarron Johnson Jr., Texas baseball / Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Texas baseball fell in a gut-wrenching 4-2 extra-inning battle on Saturday night in College Station. The No. 3 overall seed only led for a half inning, but that's all it took as the Longhorns dropped the regional semifinal battle and will now have to fight their way out of the losers bracket.

Texas A&M topples Texas baseball in 11 innings in College Station Regional

Lebarron Johnson Jr. (3-4, 5.88 ERA) made the start for the Horns. The redshirt junior threw a complete game gem in the Coral Gables regional last season, but to say his 2024 season has been inconsistent would be an understatement.

Luckily for coach David Pierce and the Longhorns, they got the elite version of LBJ on Saturday night.

The menacing righthander had all three of his pitches working from the jump. His fastball was touching 97, and the slider/changeup combo kept Aggie hitters guessing. Johnson Jr. notched four strikeouts without giving up a hit through his first three innings of action.

On the Horns side, Jared Thomas got the scoring started for the Horns as he torched the first pitch of the bottom of the first over the left-centerfield wall. It was his 16th long ball of the year.

Texas A&M tied the game at one in the top of the fifth via a one-out opposite-field blast from No. 8 hitter Caden Sorrell. LBJ was able to work out of the rest of the inning unscathed, but his night was over after five innings, one run, two hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.

After the leadoff long ball from Thomas, Texas A&M starter Ryan Prager started to find his groove. He retired 11 of 13 batters in the middle innings before former Aggie Kimble Schuessler sent his ninth home run of the year over the leftfield wall to give the Horns a 2-1 lead. Prager was subsequently taken out after 6.1 innings of work, giving up four hits, four walks, and two runs.

Texas closer Gage Boehm (5-3, 2.74 ERA) took over for Johnson Jr. in the sixth. Despite Boehm being the usual closer for Texas baseball, Coach Pierce knew the stakes of a tight game and turned to him a bit earlier than normal.

Boehm worked out of a first and third jam in the sixth before serving up a one-two-three top of the seventh. Things got hairy for the Texas righty in the eighth as the Aggies brought up the heart of their order.

Braden Montgomery reached base on a throwing error from shortstop Jalin Flores. A walk to the clean-up hitter gave the Aggies runners on first and second with no one out. Boehm bounced back with a fly-ball out that allowed Montgomery to move up to third.

With two outs and runners on first and third, Boehm got Ali Camarillo to hit a routine grounder to short. However, another throwing error from Flores allowed Camarillo to reach as Montgomery crossed the plate to tie the game at two.

A two-out walk and stolen base set up the Aggies with a runner in scoring position in the top of the ninth. Boehm, however, buckled down and got cleanup hitter Jackson Appel to fly out to the rightfield warning track.

The Longhorns could not get anything going in the bottom of the ninth as this regional semifinal headed to extras.

Redshirt junior Andre Duplainter II (2-1, 2.76 ERA) took over on the mound for Texas in the top of the tenth. Duplainter went 2.2 innings on Friday night against Louisiana, giving up just one hit. Despite giving up a few hard-hit balls and a two-out walk, Duplainter was able to push the game to the bottom of the 10th knotted at two.

Freshman Will Gasparino led off the bottom half of the frame with a walk before a two-strike sacrifice bunt from No. 9 hitter Dee Kennedy turned over the order with the winning run on second base.

Jared Thomas rolled over a 2-2 pitch to move Gasparino to third with two outs. Jalin Flores stepped to the plate with a chance for redemption after his two eighth inning errors. Unfortunuately for the Horns, Flores popped out to right and this game headed to the 11th.

Duplainter struggled to start the 11th, giving up a leadoff single and walk to two of the first three batters he faced. Coach Pierce made the call to the bullpen, bringing in lefty Chase Lummus (2-0, 3.86 ERA) to try and work out of the jam.

Lummus got Braden Montgomery to pop out to short before a walk loaded the bases for No. 5 hitter Ted Burton. With two outs and two strikes, Burton flailed a ball down the third base line. The slow grounder trickled off third base as Peyton Powell was not able to corral it. A&M grabbed its first lead of the game.

A ball in the dirt from Lummus allowed another run to score as the Aggies took a 4-2 into the bottom of the 11th.

The Longhorns went down in order in the bottom of the 11th as Evan Aschenbeck capped off a terrific appearance out of the bullpen.

Texas now enters this losers bracket and will have to win three consecutive games if they want to reach their fourth Super Regional in as many seasons. The Horns will take the field on Sunday at 2 p.m. CST against a Louisiana team they trounced 12-5 on Friday night.

If they were to win that one, a rematch against Texas A&M on Sunday night is in the cards. If the Horns were to win two games on Sunday, it would set up a winner-take-all regional final on Monday night in College Station.

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